Bird Monitoring Program Expands into Southern Great Plains

This year, the IMBCR bird monitoring effort expanded into the Southern Great Plains. To do that, Bird Conservancy of the Rockies needed to add more than 200 new survey locations and bring on additional field crew to finish the needed point surveys in the short bird-counting season.

“We hired and trained 17 field technicians to participate in the breeding bird surveys, beginning in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, and continuing on to Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas,” says IMBCR Crew Leader Brittany Woiderski. “In mid-April, we gathered for a one-week training at Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. The refuge provided a variety of habitats—grassland, oak woodland, riparian—and fantastic bird diversity, including Black-capped Vireo, an endangered species and life bird for many on the crew.”

From the Wichita Mountains, the technicians moved north to Elk City, Oklahoma. While there, they learned about new plant and bird species, as well as the proper etiquette when speaking to and working with private landowners. Ninety-seven percent of the land in the PLJV region is privately owned, so coordination with landowners is essential. After seven more days of training and a final bird quiz, technicians dispersed to begin their two-month season counting birds.

According to Woiderski, the Great Plains never disappoint. “It has been a successful and rewarding season. Technicians have been busy counting species such as Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Painted Bunting, Lesser-Prairie Chicken, Fish Crow, Greater Roadrunner, Eastern and Western Meadowlarks, Grasshopper Sparrow and Long-billed Curlew.”

This partnership-driven program will greatly increase PLJV’s ability to focus and evaluate habitat work and support proactive, targeted conservation action. For more information about this program, visit the IMBCR for PLJV webpage or download the IMBCR for PLJV partner brochure.

Posted: July 25, 2016